tv Charlie Rose PBS March 4, 2011 12:00am-1:00am PST
>> rose: welcome to our program. tonight, all about the walt disney company with the c.e.o., bob iger. >> i love the feeling you get when you run a company like this and you walk down main street in disneyland in hong kong or tokyo or paris or anaheim or orlando and you see families with children, grandparents excitement. that is just an amazing thing. >> rose: we conclude this evening with abbas milani. he is a stanford professor and an iranian expert who's written a new book called "the shah." the truth is, the shah fell just like hopl fli fall because he didn't make concessions when he was in a position to make them. >> rose: a program note, our conversation with ray kurz well will be seen next week. tonight, bob iger and abbas milani when we continue. i had this idea.
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>> rose: bob iger is here. he is president and see i don't have to the walt disney company. he has negotiated some of the biggest deals in disney's history including the acquisition of pixar and marvel entertainment. he understand the importance of balancing heritage and innovation with an eye on the new digital age. i'm pleased to have him here at this table for the first time. welcome. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: where is the walt disney company now? >> the walt disney company is a company that spends most of its capital people capital and capital when it comes to money on creating high-quality content and in particular high-quality branded content. it starts obviously with disney, it expands to espn and abc and with the acquisitions of pixar and marvel we have in effect more high quality branded content being made. that's the essence of the
company. it's probably the only true global entertainment brand when you think about it of a company that does business in every part of the world. you mentioned disney, whether you're in small african countries or large emerging countries in china, for instance people know what disney is, who disney is. >> rose: what have you found out about the brand. what is it about the brand and what's the best part of the brand? >> well, the best part of the brand is that it touches ople's hearts, enters people's lives all over the world from a very early age. so people grow up with disney in their hearts but it becomes... it remains relevant to people when they have children and when their children have children and
so on and so on. so whether you speak to a great grandparent, a parent, or a child, disney has some part in their lives, has played some role, has played some part. they remember when they first saw "snow white" or when they took their daughter to see "little mermaid" or when they took their grandson to see "toy story" and so on. >> rose: walt disney was one of the extraordinary entrepreneurs of our time. >> he was. >> rose: it was not just the creation of the characters in the movie but to have the foresight to go to florida and buy all that land and create this yes, an amazing visionary on so many levels. clearly the acquisition or land in central florida which helps to transform the country and central florida, by the way. >> rose: orlando became a different orlando. >> yes, exactly.
the appreciation he has to expand technology for the use of entertainment experience, whether it was the multiplane camera or whether it was the technology used to create lincoln at the world's fair in 1964 or the technology used... and other theme park attractions. it was amazing because he also know the essence of the company he created was and i remember listening to an interview and he was asked when you make movies, walt, who do you think of? are you thinking about kids? are you thinking about parents? he said i'm making them for that special place in everybody's heart. it wasn't about a person, it was kind of about a place in a person and a very special place. >> rose: is this the best time to have content because the availability of so many places you can distribute content? >> it's always been a good time to have great content. always. but today... media is a
combination of content and technology. the printing press i guess the content that was the book, the work of an author. and today we're seeing content meaning technology like we've never seen technology before. it is turbo-charged technology and it's developing not only very rapidly but very, very compelling ways. because not only can you use technology to make content better, to make the experience more compelling, pictures, brighter sound, better 3-d, you name it. but it's enabling people to access media in so many more places and so many more ways. mobile device is obviously a great example of that. the tablet. the new ipad. so if you're making great content, the places people can experience that coon tent unlike we've ever seen before. it's unlike we saw a year ago,
two years ago. i mean it's that dramatic in terms of... >> rose: ipads and applications are transformative? >> transformative. absolutely. yes. and for a company like us, to have to... i remember when steve first showed me the ipad. i was breathless. i walked away... i could not wait to send e-mails-- and i did very quickly-- to as many people at disney as possible. let's get ready for this. let's prepare for this. this is a game changer. let's make an application for news, let's make games, let's make sure the books we publish are digitized and we can put them on an ipad in ways that take advantage of what that technology can do. let's move our t.v. product there, our movie product there, you name it. i think we're just seeing the beginning of the beginning when it comes to this great technology. >> rose: i want to talk about steve jobs for a second. when you took over as c.e.o., after a little bit of tumult at the walt disney company, one of
the questions was the relationship with pixar. it was not great. you wanted to buy pixar. tell me how one approaches acquisition of a company that's owned principally by one man. you want to build a relationship. i don't know how well you knew him at that time... >> very little. he controlled pixar, he owned about 50% of it. he announced that a very successful and mutually beneficial relationship with disney was ended and i was named c.e.o. in march of 2005 and became c.e.o. in october and i called him the day... the morning after the decision was made but before it was announced and said "this is being announced. >> rose: were you the chief operating officer? >> i had been the chief operating officer but i didn't know him that well. the relationship with steve was managed by others in the company. i called him and said new guy,
it's me. we should talk at some point. i clearly was aware that there were strains in the relationship and i don't think we need to go into details about the roots of that. >> rose: the personal concept of michael eisner. >> it was a lack of trust and it was ending, no question. and we spent a fair amount of time exploring the options that we had but not really coming up with any great ideas, at least as i saw them that would benefit the walt disney company. there were ways we could continue the relationship but i didn't think it was really good... would be good for the shareholders of our company. at the same time that was going on i had become very interested in moving video on to new devices, namely the ipod. this was before there was a video ipod but i love music, i'm
an eclectic listener and i was a heavy useer of the ipod and i thought at some point there ought to be a video version of it and discussing a video version with steve, he 'fessed up to the fact that there was going to be and a lightbulb went off and i thought well, we've got to be there. so at the same time we were kicking ideas around about pixar we were kicking around ideas about moving abc and disney content to what would be the first video ipod. in late '05. and so our relationships started to blossom because i had shown an interest in his technology and in moving... in using it to move our content and to new places and new platforms. and then it hit me that we really needed to fix disney animation. i was becoming the c.e.o. or i had been named and it was one of our most important businesses and i was starting to think about okay, you're the guy that's running the company, how are you going to right the ship
that's probably the most critical ship of the company, animation, because it's such a wave maker. it affects so many of our businesses and has for decades. and i realized that the best way to do it was to buy pixar. so it didn't really have a "for sign so i can't remember exactly what the words were, but we started throwing up crazy ideas. and he thought it was a big idea too. he did not, by the way... in any way object to the idea. he thought it was worthy of consideration but he had to buy v buy in from the people at pixar, john lassiter, really an animation junes you and ed kaplan, the technology genius. he pretty much said it's up to them. you can't sell the idea to them, it's not going to happen. >> rose: here's what's interesting about this story because you two became great friends. it'she power of relationships.
here's a situation where there was a relationship that was not working and completely done great damage to a business relation shi. you come in with a freshness and a developing relationship and you're able to buy the company. >> well, there wasn't baggage. i benefited from ago no relationship in a way so we didn't have a past that we had to deal with personally. there was a past we had to deal with about the companies. we got to the point that there was a thorough lack of trust and disney had a feeling he could go it alone and understand why they felt that way. i didn't agree with it. when i came into the job feeling we could not go it alone it became a real priority of mine to figure out how we could run pixar. >> rose: this is genius. what's his genius? >> well, steve has multiple talents. multiple talents. i mean, he's a troop true perfectionist and he has an
ability to focus on making great things and not making a lot of things. that's a great quality. he is a genius when it comes to design. he knows how to get the most out of people. he challenges people all the time to to fulfill his great dreams and great ideas. he has an acute awareness of what people want, what customers want and sometimes it manifests itself in very small ways and sometimes it's large. i remember talking to him about the ipad and it becoming a reader, making sure you could read books on it. he said you know when you're reading a book and often you want to know how many pages you have left? well, we're going to make sure on the ipad reader you know when you're on a certain page or you can find out very quickly how many pages you have left. that's a small thing but when you think about the many things like that, large and small, and
the collection of those on consumer experience, there's real genius there. real genius. the itunes platform which is a wonderful platform it's not just about the music and the hardware it's about the software in the middle that enables you to easily find a song, catalog a song by puting in the a play list, moving the play list around, moving the music from one device to the other. there's a brilliance to that. >> rose: so you bought a lot of beatles stuff off of itunes. >> well, i'm one of those nuts that... i had the whole beatles collection any way because i ripped-- legally-- my beatles c.d.s to my apple devices but then when it became available not legitimately but through the store i bought that, too, even though it was redundant. i got the album art with it. >> rose: so where would you like to see this company go? this walt disney company that now owns pixar. now has marvel andd is in the movie business, clearly has one
of the famous brands in the world along with... i don't know what else. i guess coca-cola. >> it's up there as a top ten global brand. >> rose: where do you want to take it? >> well, since most of the value we create is dk... comes from great creativity. the biggest challenge is making things great. not making a lot of things but making a few things great all the time. very, very important. so that's the biggest challenge. we don't have to get necessarily bigger in terms of more brands, more content. we just have to continue to get better about the content that we create. and then two things will occur are occurring that are in effect wind at our backs. not easy wind to catch but it exists. one is this technological wave which is very, very helpful and
attractive and exciting. the second is what's happening in the world. you look at the growth of middle-class in the market by china and india. people are going to have access to more disposable income to spend on leisure activities, on entertainment. they know disney, they love disney, they would love to have disney in more accessible ways. so s.u.d.ly in india where there's 750 million cell phones, they're going to become cell phones and that was a market that did not have the infrastructure to distribute media on a mass basis. didn't exist. suddenly when you think about the smart phone and the hands of hundreds of millions of people there's the infrastructure and it's addressable. you can charge people money directly for it and you know who they are. that's very exciting.
so disney will continue to make great content and strive to always be better and not work harder but hardest to do that. >> rose: how is the motion picture business changeing? >> well, it's facing challenges primarily because of two things, there's more competition for people's time there's more things to do that are more entertaining. secondly the business model is fraying. not at theaters, per se. ing a actually argue that it's getting better because digital technology, 3-d technology is making the experience better and also enabling increases in ticket prices. you also have technology bringing more theaters to more people. growth of movie screens in russia and china. so it's not changing there. what's changing is the after market. this industry, the movie
industry made a lot of money and supported i was on what we call home video, the first video cassettes or v.h.s. and then d.v.d.s. that business is more challenged than ever before. and that's the big problem. >> rose: it's almost dead, isn't it? >> no. no, no, no. it's not almost dead, it's just not as healthy as it was. >> rose: people are still buying a lot of d.v.d.s? >> they are. >> rose: i thought there was a dramatic decline in the market. >> the industry is down probably about 15% year to year. but people are buying as many of them and the primary reason for that is they have other things to do. >> rose: it's not because they can go to their television and watch the movies by any number of... whether it's a cable company or whether it's a... >> well digital... >> rose: apple t.v. >> digital movie distribution... >> rose: apple t.v. >> there are all kinds of forms
of payer view and video on demand and electronic sell-through where you're selling someone the movie to own on a hard drive in perpetuity. that's all growing nicely. and while it's grown fast it hasn't gotten large enough to make up for the loss of the sale of physical goods. whether the whole will ultimately get larger han what it was before when we were just selling d.v.d.s, i don't know. we'll see growth in international markets as technology expands but you're still facing a more competitive world. when charlie rose goes home and considers how he's going to spend his time... should you want to be entertained, you have many more choices today than you ever did before. not just more channels, it's more web sites and... >> rose: more applications and everything else. >> social networking and games. i look at my kids' generation and it's not just about watching a t.v. show or a movie at home,
it's doing other things. >> rose: do we know what the impact is on younger generations because of the multiplicity of media they can watch and how they are so fixated by messaging? >> well, their habits are definitely different than hours although they still like good things. and the best things-- things that are made well and best-- are going to be the most successful. whether it's the five-year-old, ten-year-old generationtor 55-year-old or 60. that hasn't really changed i think they're much more apt to listen to their friends to follow the lead of people they know or people who are similar to them. so the reviewer of today or the person that influences a young person as to whether they're going to watch something, go to a movie is more likely to be their friend than a review in a newspaper or on television. >> they get that from facebook or...
>> correct they also multitask more so the percentage of people watching the television screen and surfing the web, chatting, has increased dramatically. if you're in the immediate what space you can argue that's a good thing because you can sell a product on this big screen and the small screen or you can make something on the small screen that is a companion to what ice on the big screen. >> rose: how are people choosing where they want to see their television? >> they're choosing everything in effect. >> rose: is there a trend anywhere? >> well initial television viewing is still winning. when something is first available if it's important or of interest it's still winning. >> rose: so in other words the final episode of "lost" is going to go through the roof as it's broadcast? >> it's going to be much bigger as it's broadcast but the most popular things and the things of most interests are also d.v.r.'d the most or recorded on hard
drives locally the most. what you're seeing is people know they have choices to inessentially create their own schedule to consume things and they don't want to be slave to the old format or the old schedule that was forced upon them by a television network or traditional media company. >> rose: this is the personification and personization of media? >> yes. so what we must do is make the product available to them under flexible or expanded circumstances it has to happen. because the simple fact that something is not available in a secondary form or later on doesn't mean they're not going to watch hit in the first form. it's not going to drive everybody to watch network t.v. in my opinion it's going to drive them to do something else instead of watching "nightline" if it's not available for someone after the fact.
and when you look at sports, whatever espn is worth today, paid for many, many times over. >> well, tom murphy back in '85, i'm not sure how he valued espn. but michael eisner talked a lot about it being espn. he was also interested in other aspects of the country. no question the growth of espn or the success of espn has been significant and i actually far exceeded whatever tom or michael thought it would be. it's just been an amazing and wonderful success story. >> rose: how has it changed course? >> rose: well, i think it's helped sports a lot because sports fan... fan is short for fanatic. people are voracious about their sports. particularly local. and what espn has done is they've served sports fans even better than they ever were
before they have greatly, greatly enhanced the sports fan experience by making available to the sports fan not only live coverage of sports that they love and more of it but all kinds of ancillary programming and discussion and analysis and highlights and that's been a great thing. the power of espn and the great run it's had is all about serving the sports fan in very, very compelling ways. >> rose: and you can do it now better than you ever could? >> well, technology is our friend not our foe in that regard. because not only can you cover more or get more of it to people but you can cover it a lot better. espn is doing a fair amount of research and development. just how to cover sports better. and that's... so you turn it on and the experience is going to be unlike you've ever seen before. not just 3-d but we're dreaming some pretty big dreams.
>> rose: you and i both know this, ruin would love this. what he could do with the possibility with his own showman's instinct for sports. >> rune was a great genius. i worked for roon for ten years, he worked for me for ten years, too. and he loved technology. by the way, very much walt disney in many respect. >> rose: a true showman. >> and a true innovater and he wasn't a technology gist, he didn't create technology but when he saw it he said "i want that tool. i want that right away to make what i'm doing better." and it was super slow-mo reverse camera live via satellite. pirpl i've been around a long time. the time we were still putting sports programming on wide world of sports where putting stuff on the bottom was a big selling point to our audience. >> rose: were you there at the time of munich? >> no, munich was in 1972. i started at abc in '74.
i came afterward. abc news was still feeling the triumph and the tragedy of munich. >> rose: it's amazing what rune did. he understand from wide world of sports and all the stuff-- and you know this better than i do, he was one of the great producers of all time because of his understanding about the drama of the event and that it went beyond what happened in the field. it had to do with the story behind the athletes, it had to do with all of those things. it was almost a novelist's... certainly a storyteller's genius >> rune was a storyteller. he saw the essence in a great story of what was happening in the field. he invented the modern day version of abc news. >> rose: when you look at the
history of abc network television, what does it have to do to be as good as you want it to be. is it a hit away or two hits away? >> the traditional way that network television has been measure is in ratings and ratings compared with how everyone else is doing. i look at it very differently. network television for us is about using that great platform, that access to over 100 million people in the united states to put programming on that generates revenue, support it is creation of even more programming that is then leverageable or export to believe new platforms and new markets all over the world. that's what it's about for us. what i want more than anything else for abc is not ratings per se i want more great programs.
because the investment... in a great program really pays off well. >> rose: how long do you want to do this job? >> i love this job. it's got its challenges and it occupies a pretty good part of my life but it's... first of all i'm... i have the great opportunity to run one of the truly great companies in the world and i think in many respects disney's a national treasure. and it's it's quite an honor to have this job to think that michael eisner, walt disney occupyed this position. and i love the businesses that we're in. they're not only interesting but they're fun. and they're creative and they're challenging and i love the use of technology. i love the feeling you get when you run a company like this and you walk down main street and you walk down disneyland in paris or tokyo or anaheim or
orlando and you see families with children, grandparents with excitement and... that is just an amazing thing. but i don't know. i'm enjoying this a lot and i feel privileged to have this opportunity. >> rose: great to have you on the program. >> thanks, charlie. >> rose: abball milani is here, he is director of iranian studies at stanford university. he's also co-director of the iran democracy project at the hoover institution. his new book is called "the shah." is it a biography of mepl med rez a pa lav vi who ruled iran between 1941 and 1979. his rule was a period of modernization and oppression, it fueled the iranian revolution in 1979. i'm pleased to have him back on this program. welcome. >> thank you. >> rose: after so many years tell me the significance of this man, the shah. >> i think with every passing
day or year we're recognizing that his fall was really the beginning of almost everything that has shaped the middle east in the last 30 years. the afghanistan war to the iran/iraq war to everything. the rise of radical islam. so he has become and his fall has become a pivotal event, i think, of the latter part of the 20th century. understanding his fall enables us to understand what's going on in the middle east today and understanding his fall, i think, makes us understand what's going on inside iran today. >> rose: what does it explain about what's going on in iran today? >> essentially i think the coalition of forces that came together to overthrow the shah in '72 are now very much the core of the green revolution with one exception. some of the conservative clerics
like khameni are on the other side and some of the hoodlums and street toughs and some segments of the poor that are getting paid by the regime have joined that minority, they are the government and the bulk of the society is essentially trying to get what they thought they were promised in 1979 which was a democracy and has not yet happened. >> rose: so their revolution was hijackd? >> i think that's a perfect way of putting it. the revolution in iran was precisely a democratic revolution. >> rose: and therefore the question often is raised is can k the revolution that is taking place, sweeping across the middle east from tunisia to egypt to libya and having the impact in other places be hijackd? >> i think that's, again, if you look at the iranian experience you have to be worried that it could be. i hold homony in paris in the
last month before coming to power he said everything that was right to make him look like a democratic leader. he had another agenda, but he was hiding it so today if the muslim brotherhood in egypt, for example says all the right things-- as they are, on their web site-- i become a little bit anxious. i have some some experience in the iranian case where khomeini said all the right things and when he he came to power he changed and literally told the people that he had lied. >> rose: if, in fact, there is a similarity or a fear of similar kind of event that takes place, in what ways are they not. >> the egyptian case there's a very important difference and that is that hosni mubarak had allowed the independence of the army to be maintained. there was an independent army
that could act. the shah had turned the army essentially into his private system. it was called the royal army and he had made sure a single charismatic officer that could potentially have a threat to him could remain in the army. >> rose: remain in the army? >> basically he threw them out, retired them and the one officer is remarkable that could have kept the army together when the shah was leaving was a general called jam. he comes back after having been thrown out of the country for almost eight years and tells the shah "i want full control of the military." this is now december '78, the shah is about to leave iran. he refuses to turn over the control of the military. >> rose: and if he had? >> i think if he had we might have seen the scenario more like egypt than the scenario we have seen in iran. >> rose: one of the things, it is said, and you are a historian
on the case that the first thing khomeini and the people supporting him did was to assassinate most of the top leadership of the shah's military. >> well, absolutely. he did two things. he didn't make the mistake that the u.s. made in iraq. he didn't dismantle the military completely. >> rose: he dismantled the leadership. >> and brought in a new cadre of officers. and then he did something else. gradually he built a parallel military called the islamic revolutionary guard corps, the i.r.g.c. and with every passing year he strengthened them to the dret remit of the military. so we now have two military, one that is significant. >> so tell me your picture of iran today. i mean khamenei is the supreme leader. >> khamenei is the supreme leader. i think his space of power is
essentially the i.r.g.c., the revolutionary guards. >> rose: and they're more loyal to him than they are to ahmadinejad or anyone else? >> they are more loyal to themselves, i think, right now because... >> rose: they're the power center. >> they're the power center. they've become an economic juggernaut. >> rose: they own things. >> they own about half the country. literally about half of the economy. >> rose: so therefore, it is argued, that sanctions can have an impact because sanctions can deny them their source of revenue. >> i think that's absolutely true. sanctions are beginning to have an impact. or better yet sanctions were beginning to have an impact and then something happened on the way and that is that qaddafi went berserk and crazy, the price of oil went up and the regime that was very much hurting now has much more revenue to try to weather the storm that is the result of the sanction. >> rose: is it unlikely that a
revolution could take place in iran? >> well, if by "revolution" you mean... >> i mean the same thing happening in libya. >> i don't think the same thing that happened in egypt, tunisia, and libya is likely to... unlikely to happen. i think it has to hatch. >> rose: has to is one word. do you think it will happen? >> i definitely think it will happen. >> rose: and soon? >> that i'm not sure because the regime has shown the capacity to exercise absolute brutality and it has still the financial capacity to keep its machinery of oppression going and when enough machinery going you can stay in power. the shah lost the trev electrocution because he lost the will to stay in power. he game absolutely weak and isolated in the last few months. he couldn't make decisions. he was weak by nature, now he
had cancer and he wasn't getting the right kind of advice from the carter administration, he was getting different advice. all of this worked to make the revolution happen. >> rose: i want to talk about the shah but let me just talk about iran today. what would be the... what would be an igniting factor to bring the people back into the streets as they were after the election? >> nobody knowss, who would have thought that the burning of an... >> rose: imlags in tunisia? >> absolutely, would start it. or in egypt, a web site, a facebook site would start it. in iran it really began two years ago. it was the stolen election and suddenly you had three million people in the streets and the regime has gone out of its way in the last year and a half to make it extremely costly to continue to come into the street but in the last two weeks people have continued to come on.
they have... the regime arrested mousavi. people defied the regime's threats and came on. >> rose: there was a man on this program and he said to me will you guarantee me that i can come to iran and interview mousavi? and he said yes. do you think that will ever happen? >> not with mr. ajanney in his current position of power. i think both brothers have thrown in their fate with mr. khamenei completely. >> including the people in the legislature? >> absolutely. the speaker one is speaker of the house and the other is judiciary. >> rose: and the third one but
people don't take him as seriously because he's vas nated went from positionings but mousavi is in prison. the regime doesn't dare say they're from prison, it keeps saying they're under house arrest, no they have just cut their contacts with the outside world. >> rose: so you think they've got him somewhere in prison? >> absolutely. the family says they have been trying to get in touch with him for the last week. >> rose: but this is a recent occurrence that's taken place. gone to their homes and got them and taken them somewhere and the family says they're no longer at home and we don't know where they are. >> precisely. and we can't get in touch with them, can't call, we go to their phones, we ring the bell, nobody answers and the regime truly... not even orwell could have thought this through. the head of the judiciary says... the spokesperson for the judiciary says no, mr. mousavi is at his home. he didn't answer the phone because... he didn't answer the door because he doesn't want to answer the door. to have the audacity to say this
look into the camera and say this is... i think jon stewart caught it beautifully last night. he said the iranian regime has militarized irony, they have weaponized irony. they really have weaponized irony. they say things that are remarkably/verdictly clearly a lie but they say it with certainty. >> rose: what about mr. ahmadinejad? >> he is trying to play a very interesting game he is trying to begin to create for himself an indendent base of power. and if you look at what has been saying and what his sons father-in-law, a very controversial figure has been saying, they're saying a lot of things that the iranian middle-class want to say. that is religion shouldn't interfere in people's private lives.
talking about the greatness of iran. talking about there would have been no islam if there wasn't iran, this is virtually what he said. so he's moving gingerly, i think, to creating this independent... >> rose: backing more... it's hard to use "american" definitions but becoming more moderate? more nationalistic? >> becoming more of a nationalistic... or giving his rhetoric more of a nationalistic color to make it more appealing to the force that i think has the future of iran, which is the moderate democratic middle-classs and the working classes that are their potential. >> rose: and how do you think the powers that be and the supreme leader, ahmadinejad and the revolution guard are looking at the revolution spreading in, say, libya. >> they are absolutely frightened. >> rose: because it shows what happens... even if you try to resist with force, the power of
the people in the streets. >> absolutely. the head of the i.r.g.c., revolutionary guards intelligence division, very frightful ayatollah cleric just yesterday gave a fascinating interview where he said we think there's going to be much more trouble and that the americans are planning to make another attempt in a revolution in the coming few months. so they clearly anticipate trouble on the horizon and i think that the blowback from tunisia and egypt and everything. >> rose: do you think they'll have to use force from outside to finally stop qaddafi from engaging in a massacre? >> i think at minimum they're going to have to have a no-fly zone. i think he has shown that there's no limit and the iranian regime, too, has shown there's
no limit that they will go to save... if you add all the people that have been killed in iran over the last 30 years, the opposition greater numbers qaddafi has killed. >> rose: take me to the shah. so where was he born and what was his status before therm overwhelmed by the election that put the other one in power. >> he was born in tehran in 1919 to a colonel in the kosak brigade of rather modest means, within two years his father becomes the power behind the thrown in' 21, he organizes a coup with somebody else. by the time he's seven he's called the crown prince. he is taken away from his mother and put into a palace surrounded by men. he had been surrounded by women until then and given military education. then he's sent to switzerland
for some years of training. he comes back without finishing high school and then when he's only 21 his father is forced off the throne by the british and the soviets because they suspect him of having nazi sympathy and he becomes a reluctant monarch al at the tenter age of 21 and then begins a political democratic from 1941 to 1951. and oil is the dominant issue. mossad wants to nationalize. the americans keep telling the british behind the scenes that they should give in a little bit because this wave is coming. but the british were intransgent they weren't willing to compromise. so that nationalized the oil and the british immediately decided they want to overthrow him
through a coup. the americans would not go along with that for two years. then in late november 1952 they decide that the british are right, there is no negotiation possible and they sat and planned together something called operation ajax" which was an attempt to overthrow mosaddeg at the same time, he had become much more weekend. the shah fled iran in august thinking he had lost the thrown, he came back. >> rose: at age what, 22 or 23? >> by then he's 31. he begans planning the life as a gentleman farmer in connecticut and then on the... on the 19th he is told much to his surprise that the day had turned, that forces loyal to him had
overthrown mossad deg he becomes the king that rules iran from '53 to '78. is >> what was the role of the c.i.a. in overthrowing mow a deg >> the plan called for the dismiss most a deg. and the c.i.a. had been trying to discredit mosaddegh and mosaddegh helped the process by the fact that he kept becoming more and more isolated.
and because of this fear the idea was that mosaddegh would be overthrown by this order. the key argument, the key legal battle on whether it is mosaddegh who broke the law or the sla is the legal argument of whether the shah had the right in appointing a p.m. when there was no parliament. mosaddegh had dissolved the parliament. and the shah who was unwilling to join the american effort indicated that he was now willing because he thought he now had the constitutional power. >> rose: okay, so he goes to power, the shah. what kind of ruler is he and we all know and we a know of the secret saab bat and how brutal they were and how oppressive
they were and we also know of his grandiosity as a shah and emperor. what else can be said about him. we also know he was a good friend of america in terms of presidents including jimmy carter. right before they overthrew him. >> absolutely. he was the friend of every president from f.d.r. to jimmy carter. he had closer ties with some like eisenhower and nixon. he was a modernizing authoritarian weak vacillating. >> rose: so even at the height of his power he was weak and vacillating. it wasn't just here in the end when he was sic as well as when he was faced a three that he couldn't comprehend? >> well, that's the complication of his character. no mosaddegh era he is exactly that weak and vacillating character we see in '78. when he feels empowered, as he does in 1974, he has no problem
making decisions. it's the kind of authoritarian personality, weak and vacillating when they feel weak and overriding and bullish when they feel strong. the shah had exactly these two aspects of his personality he could sit as he literally did behind the table and order the country to become a one-party system and to the absolute dread of the u.s. he increased the price of oil, he began a nuclear program that the u.s. was not in favor of but then three years later he wouldn't drink a glass of water without first asking the american ambassador whether it was a good idea to drink water it's really remarkible the two sides of his character. >> rose: and the interesting thing, to, is he had a program to acquire nuclear weapons. >> he had a program to at least become, i think... absolutely
right. he had program to become capable of very shortly becoming a weapons program. that's literally what he tells the chief of the nuclear program. he says "we want to have everything in place so that if anyone in the neighborhood goes nuclear, we will go nuclear." and the thing that is in the book that hasn't been discussed before is how much behind the scene the u.s. was fighting the shah on the nuclear issue. even then. it's not at all true what the islamic reap says that these tensions are simply because islamic republic is in power. even with the shah the ford and the carder administration faugts him tooth and nail to make sure he doesn't go towards the bomb and for three years u.s. companies were not allowed to bit for contracts. in the meantime, the germans and french ran in and signed the contracts.
>> if, in fact he had resisted khomeini with force he would have been successful. or not? >> i think if... first of all i think if he had made one-third of the concession he is made in '78, if he had made those concessions in '75 i think he would have absolutely survived. and khamenei has taken the exact wrong lessen. khamenei's conclusion is that the shah fell... he said this several times because he made concessions. but the truth is the shah fell just like khamenei will fall because he didn't make con sexes when he was in a position to make them. that's why i begin every chapter in the brook with a quote from richard ii. the shah is just like richard ii. he is very much almost hectoring when he's in power and when when
the first sign of trouble comes he basically says come on, take the throne. nobody was after the throne. people just wanted their lands back in richard. in the case of the shah initially people just wanted a little more democracy. but he wasn't willing to give them that. instead of opening the system in '75 he created a one-party system. >> rose: and then it ended up with a man who didn't have a country. nobody wanted him. >> and that's truly one of the most incredible thick. a man who was an ally of the united states for 37 years, ally of the west. for a year he was as kissinger called him the flying dutchman. he couldn't get a visa. >> rose: until a lot of people intervened to get him to have medical treatment in new york. this has always been fascinating to me, too, which is the notion of what the united states leadership should do today. the president is very clear now about libya. but should the president in your
judgment at the time of the election and the consequences of the election results when iranians in large number were in the streets, should the president of the united states have identified with them and if he had would it have made a difference? >> i definitely think he should have. he did identify, but belatedly and very gingerly. >> rose: gingerly would be the right word. >> and i think if he had done it it would not necessarily change the result but it would have very much emboldened the opposition. >> rose: given them strength and courage? >> given them strength. >> rose: because they would have known that they were being heard. >> absolutely. and because in the middle east-- i think you probably know this-- egypt, i think is no exception, in the middle east people believe that the west, the united states particularly and britain, have far more power than the united states and
britain might in fact have. they believe in conspiracy theories so they parse out every word that carter said during the shah. every word obama says with a kind of care that criminologists used to do during the kremlin days. so... >> rose: reading the tea leaves. >> absolutely. and they're doing it right now and they stay united states is now on our side. >> rose: abbas milani, speaking of richard ii, this is what steven green glat who's the awe of this of "will in the world, how shakespeare became shakespeare said this" for god's sake let us sit upon the ground and tell us s.a.t. sad stories about the death of kings. shakespeare's words from richard ii are an apt invitation to this gripping biography of the shah of iran. abbas milani shows what that the shah was a tragic figure whose inner ghosts and deep personal flaws helped to destroy the hopes vested in him.
his downfall ushered? a nightmare from which iran and the rest of the world has yet to awaken. milani's detailed narrative enables us to understand why the modernizing monarch so disastrously failed. there is the shakespearean story. thank you for coming. >> thank you. >> rose: the book again is called "the shah." abbas milani. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org